I enjoy reading detective novels and recently returned to an author I had read a few years ago, Malcolm Hollingdrake. I had forgotten how he includes artwork and artists in his books. One of the detectives collects paintings mainly from the Northern school of artists. I didn't realise that he either owns or has owned the works he writes about and at the end of each book he features an artist. In one book "Dying Art" the main theme is that of art forgery, and as well as being an interesting story there are many fascinating facts about this practice.
Some of the artists, who specialise in mainly depicting the northern industrial landscape, mentioned in the books include James Lawrence Isherwood, Mary Feddon, Theodore Major, Harold Riley, John Coen, Norman Cornish and of course L.S. Lowry.
I have always been interested in this school of artists and in the late 70's and 80's I was lucky enough to exhibit alongside a couple of them. I was also fortunate to have a full exhibition of my work in an adjacent gallery to an exhibition by the late, great L.S Lowry.
In 1989, Peter Davies wrote a book about this school of art. I was invited to
the launch of the book, which took place at Blackpool Art Gallery. Many of the artists mentioned attended and an exhibition of their work was also opened. Looking back, I wish that I had asked more of them to sign my book, which by the way I have put in a safe place (if only I could remember where), as some copies are selling for up to £200 each.
Like many things that go in a cycle, this style of painting has again become popular in certain areas, with several Cheshire galleries specialising in it. In 2015, Peter published an updated version of the book called " A Northern School Revisited" acknowledging recent artists such as Liam Spencer, Bob Richardson and John Thompson.
It is a shame that there is no northern gallery with a permanent collection of these artworks on show or that a touring exhibition couldn't be organised. The recent film #MrsLowryAndSon shows that there is a great interest in this style and The Lowry Art Gallery in Salford, would be an ideal place for at least an exhibition; possibly in conjunction with Salford Art Gallery. I for one hope that in the near future someone takes the initiative to make this happen.